LANDOVER – Montgomery County native Jelani Jenkins had a happy homecoming at FedEx Field on Sunday afternoon.
The Good Counsel product helped the Miami Dolphins capture a 17-10 victory over the Washington Redskins before 76,512 fans in the season opener.
Jenkins, a former All-Sentinel Player of the Year, said he was elated to leave Maryland with a win.
He registered 11 tackles against the Redskins.
“I was really excited, really excited about the game. I’m glad we came out with the win,” said Jenkins.
The Redskins jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first half thanks to a four-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Kirk Cousins to tight end Jordan Reed, a college roommate of Jenkins at the University of Florida.
However, the Dolphins clawed back in the game and surged ahead on a 69-yard punt return from Jarvis Landry.
The Miami defense forced an interception late in the game that sealed the win for the visitors.
“It was huge,” said Jenkins. “I don’t think we win the game if we didn’t get it.”
Jenkins was among a group of four Dolphins players who grew up in the state of Maryland including three who played high school football in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference.
“It’s clear that we got ballers,” said Miami Dolphins defensive tackle A.J. Francis, a Severn native who played at Gonzaga, “and if you want to get some good players you got to go to that conference.”
Francis played college ball at the University of Maryland. He was inactive against the Redskins but still made the trip home.
Dolphins starting left tackle Branden Albert graduated from Glen Burnie High School in Anne Arundel County and Miami defensive end Cameron Wake, a Prince George’s County native, graduated from DeMatha.
“We were all excited about coming back,” said Jenkins. “I think they had a lot of family [in attendance] just like I did.”